Your Medical History is Important for Diagnosing Sciatica


The Key to Diagnosing Sciatica

Your medical history is extremely important when properly diagnosing sciatica. Just because you have lower back pain that extends into the leg does not mean you automatically have sciatica. If you notice that you are beginning to develop chronic lower back pain that can be felt in the lower extremities, it’ll be important to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Leading up to the appointment, you should begin gathering medical history. This will include the following: 

  • Medical issues 
  • Prescription medications 
  • Surgeries 
  • Accidents 
  • Perception of pain 
  • Journal of your pain

Journaling and Diagnosis

In order to receive a correct and helpful diagnosis, it will be important to provide the doctor with as much information as possible. You never know when a few written clues could ensure you get the treatment you need. For this reason, it will be essential to journal your day-to-day activities and the response.

Each day, write down the following information:

  • First occurrence that you noticed the pain (a rough estimate) 
  • Which area is the worst? (E.g. – Lower back, thigh, calves, etc) 
  • What type of pain are you feeling? (E.g. – Shooting, shocking, stabbing, etc) 
  • Activities performed 
  • Activities performed that trigger the pain 
  • Activities performed that alleviate the pain 
  • Do you have difficulty walking or simply moving around?

During the Examination

Once your appointment finally arrives, you can expect the physician to perform a number of physical tests. You may also have to undergo an x-ray, MRI, or CAT scan. These tests in combination with the detailed journal you provide can help your doctor with ensuring a correct diagnosis is made.